The Enid Blyton Society
The Castle Without a Door and Other Stories
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Book Details...

First edition: 1954
Publisher: H.A. & W.L. Pitkin
Cover Art: Uncredited
Illustrator: listed with stories
Category: Pitkin Pleasure Series
Genre: Mixed
Type: Short Story Series Books

On This Page...

List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

  1. The Castle Without a Door
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  2. Saving Up
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: Sunny Stories No.72 May 27, 1938
  3. The Magic Pinny-Minny Flower
    Illustrations: E.H. Davie
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  4. Our Sailing-Ship
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  5. The Hen, the Tray and the Poker
    Illustrations: E.H. Davie
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  6. The Jack-in-the-Box
    Illustrations: Lorna Adamson
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  7. The Kitten After Its Tail
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  8. Peter's Noah's Ark
    Illustrations: Marjorie Thorp
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  9. Mr. Oddmedodd
    Illustrations: E.H. Davie
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  10. Goldie and the Water Sprites
    Illustrations: Marjorie Thorp
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  11. Who Is It?
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: Specially Written
  12. The Doll That Ran Away to Sea
    Illustrations: E.H. Davie
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  13. The Good Old Horse
    Illustrations: E.H. Davie
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  14. The Cobbler
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: Sunny Stories No.44 Nov 12, 1937
  15. Too Tiny, the Dwarf
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.5
  16. My Friend
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: Specially Written
A wizard called Kookle builds a castle just outside Brownie Town. The inhabitants are quite impressed with the way it was done because Kookle just sat on a stone and muttered queer words whereupon the structure simply grew out of the ground. A curious thing is that no door can be seen anywhere and the windows are too high for anyone to scale the place, so how is it entered?

Kookle becomes disliked because he won't speak to anyone even when he's wished good day and once when a brownie accidentally ran into him he turned the unfortunate person into a pillar-box. The brownies are sure that worse mischief will come from their new neighbour and they're right because a fortnight later little Princess Peronel who's visiting Brownie Town to stay with Mother Browneyes, is kidnapped by the wizard.

She'd been walking in Wishing Wood with her old nurse when it happened and the frantic woman rushed back to the village in a terrible state, crying and groaning in distress. The brownies were told how Wizard Kookle had seen the Princess and, desiring a wife, he'd taken her off to his castle. There's much consternation and the brownies set off to beard the wizard in his den despite whatever consequences might arise.

When they reach the castle a fat little brownie named Tinker yells up a request for Peronel to be returned but the wizard looks out of a window and laughs at them all.

"If you want Peronel, come and get her."

Tinker's rage cuts no ice with the wizard who simply tells them to clear off or he'll turn them into muffin-bells. The brownies wisely make themselves scarce but still intend to carry out a rescue. What about sending for the King's army? That idea is vetoed however because of the wizard's powers and Tinker is more inclined towards entering the castle but to do that, a door must be found; there just has to be one somewhere. A suggestion is made - why don't they all go up there and feel about for an entrance because the door might simply be invisible.

Suffice to say, this is exactly what they do. Six of them set off and shortly they return to Brownie-Town, not as brownies, but as kittens!

So much for that! Tinker, who obviously wasn't one of the 'six,' sits down in his cottage to contemplate the situation. He desperately wants to rescue Peronel because he thinks she's the prettiest little Princess in all of Fairyland. A fall of snow that night stimulates an idea and next morning Tinker calls some others to reveal his plan. It involves them all making a snowman just outside Kookle's castle ... and that's exactly what they do. The wizard sees them of course but takes little notice seeing it's not threatening him in any way.

What follows is an exciting series of incidents that first involves Tinker enduring a very uncomfortable time. Yes, a door is discovered, and Peronel is rescued but it's not much use to save someone if you haven't he right magic words in your vocabulary to open the door from inside. A rabbit named Sandy enters the picture and what happens that night will be something to be looked back upon for many years to come.

The wizard's still around with all his powers, so what has happened to him and his castle?

The Magic Pinny-minny Flower

A magician called Too-Thin has gathered the ingredients required for a new spell ... spider's web, a bowl of moonlight, six golden dewdrops, hairs from a rabbit's tail and other stuff but he's lacking one item and that's known as a pinny-minny flower.

His flowerbeds are full of spring daffodils but no pinny-minny flowers do they accommodate. The magician thinks very hard indeed and finally decides to pin a notice on his gate offering six sacks of gold to anyone who can produce the required flower. The effect of this is that many people who see the notice are motivated to contact witches and goblins in the hope that a pinny-minny flower can be sourced though the magic arts, but to no avail and no one is successful in obtaining the required spell ingredient.

One day a tiny cobbler pixie named Higgledy passes by. He's often peeped over Too-Thin's wall to admire the rows of daffodils and wishes that he had such a fine garden. When he spies the notice a certain amount of puzzlement ensues because he's often seen a small plant growing in the pathway near Too-Thin's door. Yes, it's still there and Higgledy knows it's a pinny-minny plant. The magician is obviously unaware of its existence so Higgledy enters and knocks on the door. Too-Thin opens up and asks Higgledy if he's the egg-man. No, he's come about the pinny-minny plant. The magician demands it and before Higgledy can relay the plant's whereabouts, he's insulted.

"Stupid creature! Where is the flower? Why haven't you brought it? Is it in someone's garden? If so, go and buy it ... you'll be able to pay any costs with the reward being offered."

Higgledy laughs, and then leans down and picks a pinny-minny from the plant right by his foot. He waves it in Too-Thin's face, telling him that he may be clever at spells but he's stupid at other things. Now is it wise for a lowly little pixie to say such things to a magician?

We can but wonder!

The Hen, The Tray, And The Poker

A youth named 'Will' falls in love with the prettiest young maid anyone could wish to see but her father, who has three daughters in all, is not happy about it because the lad earns only a shilling or so a week and in his opinion, that's not nearly enough to keep a girl in the manner to which she is accustomed.

"I work hard for you and I'm honest and strong," says the youth who works on the father's farm. He even asks for a little more money so that he can marry his chosen and keep her in comfort but the farmer just laughs and says he's worth no more than what he gets; his daughter is going to marry a rich man some day.

This results in the youth wrapping his few belongings into a handkerchief and bidding goodbye. The love of his life is in tears and she asks him to stay but Will tells her he'll search out a master who pays better wages and then, when he's rich, he'll return and marry her.

How a hen, a tray, and a poker can enter this narrative is anyone's guess.

After a couple of days he reaches another town where a carpenter's shop attracts his attention. As he stands nearby a customer appears and asks the carpenter if he can make him four chairs by Friday. Unfortunately the chap's hands are full and Will, seeing an opportunity, introduces himself and explains that he knows how to make chairs and tables. The potential employer appraises him and then takes the lad on although, not being a wealthy man, he tells Will that if he works for a year and a day, his bed and food will be taken care of and he'll receive something extra upon his departure.

Will resolves to work so well that he'll receive a large amount of money when he leaves and, with that, the employment commences. All goes well and at the end of a year and a day, Will's informed that the carpenter's son is now old enough to help out so it's time for him to leave. His former employer takes hold of a finely carved wooden tray and presents it to the lad who wonders what he's supposed to do with it. The carpenter explains to him that any time he wants food he just has to ask for it, and a meal will appear on the tray.

Surely a prize like this will gain the lad his bride and after offering profuse thanks, Will sets off on his way back to the farm again but as night is approaching he stops at a roadside cottage. Upon entering he finds two rough-looking men warming their hands over a fire. One tells him he can sleep on a bed of straw by the fire but all there is to offer in the way of food is a crust of bread. No worries in that department of course because one thing Will has in his favour is a never-ending food source. He grabs the tray and dumfounds his hosts by commanding it to stump up with some fodder.

"Tray, I want my supper."

Dishes of sausages, potato, and cabbage appear instantaneously - no kidding! There's even cheese and grapes. He repeats the request twice, and two more meals appear. It goes without saying that all three have a very satisfying meal but there's mischief afoot. When Will falls asleep, one of the men grabs his tray, slips out of the room, and in a couple of hours comes back with a hastily made duplicate which he places near the sleeping visitor.

Next morning Will wakes and taking the substitute tray he continues his journey to the farm and enters to confront the farmer. Telling him he possesses something that will eventually make his fortune, the family gathers round for a demonstration.

Poor Will ends up being chased out of the house by a stick-wielding farmer when nothing happens after he's ordered the tray to provide food. A ditch is his bed for the night and during the next two days he searches again for work but none seems available anywhere. Passing a cottage he spies a little old woman pumping water in her garden. Seeing she looks done in, Will offers to do the pumping for her and after he's filled two buckets with water, the grateful dame asks if he could work there until her son returns from foreign parts? Much the same as before happens. Will gets his much-needed job in exchange for food and a comfortable bed. He'll also be presented with 'something' at the end of his time.

During the next nine months, he scrubs floors, digs the garden, mends the windows, pumps water and performs other chores until the day or termination arrives. Before he makes off the woman, true to her word, hands him his bonus.

A little red hen!

Once again Will is surprised but the woman tells him it'll lay an egg for him whenever he pulls her tail gently.

So what?

So what indeed; this hen's eggs are fashioned of genuine silver and gold, and should be the definitive answer to all of Will's problems. The woman is dutifully thanked and the lad departs. Walking through a thick wood, he meets up two men who're sitting by a blazing fire and he recognises them as the characters with which he'd stayed the night almost a year ago. He's given sustenance and prior to settling down for the night, wonders how to pay the men; then he remembers the gift awarded to him by his recent employer. Taking the hen a little further away from the men, he pulls the bird's tail and Hey Presto - a small egg is produced.

Yes, as he'd been told, it's made of silver and gold but one of the men has crept up behind him and witnessed the action. He races back to his mate and spills the beans, which of course leads to a plan of action. During the night a substitution is made.

What follows when Will returns to the farm can be gauged quite correctly and once more he's on the run, leaving behind his tearful girlfriend.

His next job involves blacksmithing and Will works as diligently as ever for a year (and a day) whereby the blacksmith who's very pleased with his employee, offers him a share in the business which Will accepts - but he asks for three days off so that -

"I can go and see the pretty maiden I love."

That's fine but before he leaves, the blacksmith takes something down from a shelf at the back of the smithy. OK, it appears to be nothing more than an old poker but in this land of surprises there has to be something extra involved. Will takes it and sets off to the home of his beloved, but night falls once again as he approaches the cottage where he'd once stayed. The two men are still there so they must have been camping out on the occasion when he'd joined them with his hen. Will suspects very strongly that these two characters somehow managed to steal his other possessions, so he's apprehensive when they repeat their offer to put him up for the night.

The scene is set!

The Jack-in-the Box

He's got stiff hair, a big nose, staring eyes and a horrid laugh. He also likes frightening the toyshop toys by jumping out at them, which means he's not a well-liked individual. He frightens the fairy doll and scares all the animals in Noah's ark so now there's one less in the group because Noah couldn't find the second bear after rounding them up again. The toys are at their wits' end and one evening when the Jack-in-the-Box is asleep, they hold a meeting to discuss ways and means of addressing their trials and tribulations. A suggestion is made that perhaps the clockwork train could take him far away but the train doesn't want anything to do with him because only last night he'd run off his rails and broken a wheel when frightened by 'You Know Who.'

How about the motor-bus or fire engine? Could they take him away somewhere? Yes, they could but what would be the use; Jack-in-the-Box would simply stay in his seat until brought home again. The toy aeroplane offers a possible solution. Perhaps he could take him into the air and then turn upside down so that Jack would fall out and end up in 'God Knows Where.'

This sounds like a good plan, so next evening every toy takes it in turn to be flown round the room, hoping that Jack-in-the Box will demand a flight as well. The aeroplane eventually flies down beside the troublemaker who's just scared Golly so suddenly that he fell into a bowl of water and almost drowned.

"Jack-in-the-Box, stop your tricks and come for a ride," the plane urges.

His invitation is accepted and after wrapping a muffler round his neck, Jack gets into the plane and away they go accompanied by spontaneous cheers from the long suffering toys. They wait patiently for the plane to return and when it does, they crowd around asking what had happened and the plane tells them Jack was indeed dropped off when flying over a witch's cottage.

A very sad outcome indeed for Jack who has now returned as something else, and is due for a little of what he'd previously dished out to the others, but -

One could say an eventual happy ending ensues for all involved.

Peter's Noah's Ark

The toys are unhappy because Peter's gone to stay with his cousin John. They don't like it when Peter goes off and leaves them because, as the golliwog says, toys don't have exciting times like boys and girls do so they'll just have to sit in the playroom by themselves.

Oh for an adventure ... or at least a change of scene.

Mr. & Mrs. Noah remark that one day they all may have a fine escapade but the toys pour cold water on that and tell him he's hardly likely to experience one with his silly old ark. That may be so but that very night when the witching hour is imminent, loud shouting is heard from outside and someone knocks loudly at the door.

"Open! Open in the King's name!"

The bear does so and is confronted by a bedraggled elf who explains that a terrible thing has happened. The King and Queen of Fairyland were sailing down the stream outside to visit the Prince of Buttercup Land when a sudden gust of wind blew their ship right over! Fortunately no one drowned but the elf asks if it's all right for them to come in and dry out.

I think if anyone was personally requested to entertain a distressed King and Queen, the answer would be 'Yes!'

The toys are only too willing to oblige. The soldiers rush to light a fire in the old dolls' house and warm up a jug of cocoa. They also start the kitchen fire as well, and the toys become proud hosts of none other than the King and Queen of Fairyland.

What an honour.

More elfin servants appear and after drying themselves they pour out cups of hot cocoa for the royal personages. Teddy addresses them and expresses concern for their current plight - adding that if there were any beds in the dolls' house they could have slept there but, unfortunately, Peter gave them away to a friend of his. However, the Queen tells him they couldn't stop anyway because she has to get on with their journey to Buttercup Land ... the Prince is certain to be worried about their non-appearance.

The King asks if there might be a vessel they could borrow but is told that Peter's taken all the toy boats to his cousin's place, so it seems as if their Majesties are snookered; but a way round their dilemma is found and the end result is that certain inhabitants of the nursery are invited to a moonlight party in Fairyland.

Now, what more could one desire?

Mr. Oddmedodd

Prissie is a naughty girl who won't do as she's told and when instructed to play quietly in the garden, she slips the gate-latch and runs to look into the window of a nearby sweet-shop. Her mother warns the child that one day Mr. Oddmedodd will get her, but Prissie won't listen, and next time when alone in the garden, she slips across the road again and guess who comes out of the shop?

A very odd-looking fellow indeed, wearing a tall hat and sporting different coloured eyes - one blue and one brown - yes, it's Mr. Oddmedodd himself. This chap doesn't muck about ... he simply grabs hold of Prissie, stuffs her into his bag, and takes the girl home to his wife.

In recent years the word 'Graphic' has come into vogue so 'you have been warned' because what follows could be classed as Graphic.

Mr. Oddmedodd wants a meal and as he's brought a desirable commodity home with him, it's only fitting that said 'desirable commodity' should be eaten. Yes, he's going to cook and consume Prissie but you can't devour small girls without some kind of trimming, so he disappears to get a little parsley; but not before telling his wife to make sure the girl doesn't escape.

Prissie thinks that Mr. Oddmedodd's not a very nice man, but his wife assures her that he never eats good little girls - only bad ones, and to her credit, Prissie's already formulating a plan of escape instead of falling into dark despair. Mrs. Oddmedodd wants to bank up the fire in order to cook her husband's meal but the coal situation is not good. Prissie looks into the scuttle to report that it's empty and Mrs. Oddmedodd knows there's none in the cellar.

Prissie makes a suggestion.

"Our coalman came today so we've got plenty. Shall I take your shovel and fetch some of ours?"

Mrs. Oddmedodd can't be all that bright because she allows Prissie to depart, and that girl's heels can't be seen for dust as she hightails it home ... where she turns over a new leaf.

For a while!

One day she unlatches the gate and dashes across the road to window shop but once again, Mr. Oddmedodd forestalls this activity. There's a detailed picture of poor little Prissie being shoved into his sack and in a matter of minutes she's back in Mrs. Oddmedodd's kitchen. Surely the woman will be a little more vigilant this time. Once again Mr. Oddmedodd tells her to cook the girl for his dinner whilst he nips out to dig a few potatoes ... a good balanced meal contains potatoes, meat, and perhaps a few peas or beans. Cabbage is also a good mainstay so Prissie asks Mrs. Oddmedodd if her husband likes cabbage.

It turns out he relishes the stuff but there's none in their garden and they can't afford to buy any so Prissie, naturally, hares off to obtain some cabbage from the family garden. Not surprisingly, she doesn't return to the Oddmedodds' house and she also makes a solemn vow -

She's never ever going to be naughty again ... ever!

Unfortunately the best laid plans of mice and little girls often go astray, and the terrible news is that Prissie ends up once more in the Oddmedodd's kitchen.

Goldie And The Water Sprite

Goldie is the very innovative name for a goldfish that swims around all day in the nursery fish bowl - or 'globe' as it's called in the book. Goldie belongs to Minnie and Beth who live with their Nanny, and the fish leads a happy life because when night falls the toys come out to play and Goldie's often visited by one or more of the dolls who converse with him through the glass. Sometimes a plastic duck is placed on the water to amuse Goldie and every so often it dives down to join the fish amongst the reeds.

The girls are twins and Auntie Susan gives them a lovely present on their birthday ... a toy circus with elephants, horses, clowns, lions and bears. It also contains a band of little men with trumpets, horns and drums and there's only one thing to do with a gift like this - play with it all day long, so Beth and Minnie do exactly that. They leave it out on the nursery floor when bedtime comes and later the toys emerge from their cupboard to see this exciting addition to the nursery.

Very obligingly, the bandsmen start up a tune and the animals all perform tricks to the toys' delight. Up on the bookcase Goldie tries to see what's going on down below and then a terrible thing happens ... whilst swimming round to the brisk music, he makes a leap upwards and accidentally flies right out of the bowl. He lands on the floor and starts wriggling around trying to breathe.

The circus stops and everyone's looks in horror at the convulsing fish. What on earth can be done? The duck has an idea.

"Let's fetch the water sprite. Perhaps she'll know what to do."

A wooden soldier is dispatched to fetch the sprite from outside and when the she sees what's happened, the toys are told that Goldie needs to be placed in water immediately; but with his bowl sitting so high up on the book-case, another solution has to be found. Rushing into the dolls' house and perceiving a bath, the sprite tells Golly to drag it outside and fetch jugs of water from the goldfish bowl.

Pray tell us what Minnie and Beth will think when they next visit the nursery, but anyway, at the end of this tale Goldie finds a very compatible friend.

The Doll That Ran Away To Sea

Lulu owns eleven dolls that she places on the nursery table every night before going to bed. They consist of two fairy dolls, two baby dolls, a walking doll, a French doll with real eyelashes, two wooden Dutch dolls, two Japanese dolls and a sailor doll which, means that Lulu owns a very nice collection indeed. However, the sailor is not all that happy being lumped together with girly and baby dolls; what he wants is to mingle with the soldiers or teddy-bears.

In fact, he'd rather be owned by a boy. He'd like adventures in a boat of his own far out at sea and he'd be brave as can be. He'd fight pirates and kill sharks and might even be shipwrecked. If that happened he'd simply build a boat of his own and carry on sailing across the ocean.

Is he all that brave?

One of the fairy dolls reminds him that he ran away from a spider only the other evening and this makes the sailor doll blush, but his mind is made up and he decides to run away that very evening. After Lulu has gone to bed he jumps down from a window into the grass below and hurries away to begin his new life. One can only visualise the world he's dared to enter, because there are some remarkably scary experiences to undergo before he manages to reach the stream and jump into a craft that's moored amongst the reeds. There's a picture of him in the vessel - one of those paper boats that most of us learnt to fold, origami style, when we were young.

Very unfortunately, things go from bad to worse for the poor sailor doll.

The Good Old Horse

Captain is an old farm horse who's now unwanted because the farm is being sold and its new owner has no use for the elderly animal. Farmer Brown for whom he's worked many long years can't accommodate him, because house he's bought has only a very tiny garden, and the horse can't be sold because he's had his day. What Farmer Brown does though is to ask Mr. Straws, the new owner, if he could house Captain there until someone can be found to take him.

Yes, that's fine, but the horse mustn't be left too long

The day of parting arrives and Farmer Brown is very sad to leave his old friend but there's little choice, and when he's gone Captain lies down in a shady corner and thinks back on his life and times. There've been harvests brought in, and the Browns' little daughter had often ridden him home from the cornfield ... pleasant memories, but now it's all over.

"I'm useless now. Nobody wants me and there are strange people at the farm who'll refuse to let me stay in the field I love so much."

A night or so later Captain wakes up and notices something - flames are licking the side of a hay-rick near the barn in an adjoining field. His initial thought is:

'So what!' The new farmer has never offered a kind word and doesn't want him around anymore.

Then, almost immediately, he feels ashamed. Running frantically to a barred gate his memory comes into play. Long ago when he was young, Captain had learnt how to slip the bar out with his nose and, because of this, Farmer Brown had been tying the gate with string to stop him from wandering out.

Is the gate still tied in place?

No, it isn't because the new owner is unaware of Captain's little trick, and now the question remains -

Could there be a happier conclusion to an Enid Blyton tale?

Too-Tiny, The Dwarf

A mean, bad-tempered, surly dwarf called Too-Tiny has been driven from three villages because no one likes him. He lives alone and his days are now spent muttering to himself and planning what he'd do if riches ever came his way.

As fortune would have it, the dwarf happens to stumble across a cave containing sacks of gold. He can hardly believe his eyes but it's no joke and the only explanation for his luck is that it's a robbers' treasure trove. Too-Tiny's obviously thought long and hard about what he'd do if blessed with untold riches and his first action is to heave a sack of gold onto his back and tramp off to Witch Green-Eyes' house. He knocks on the door and when she appears, Too-Tiny asks her how much a 'giant-spell' would cost.

At this stage we don't know why he wants to become giant-sized but maybe the name 'Too-Tiny' irks him. The witch says that giant-spells are far too expensive for his pocket and slams the door after telling him that it would cost a sack of gold. Too-Tiny yells out that he's got the price and the witch opens up again looking at him with disbelief.

"You've got a sack of gold? Show me!"

Too-Tiny obliges by dragging in the sack, which surprises the witch no end. However, the price has been met so she fetches a bottle of green liquid telling him to add some sour milk and drink it the next night a full moon appears. Too-Tiny snatches the bottle and tears off home full of plans. On becoming a giant, he 'll live in a big castle on Breezy Hill above the village of Tick-Tock and won't he give the people a fright! A little slavery can be practised, and his slightest word will be obeyed ... no question!

On the next full-moon night a mug is fetched and the spell is dutifully mixed with milk and quaffed outside in the silvery sheen. It's quite frightening at first because Too-Tiny experiences pain all down his arms and legs before shooting up and taking the form of a giant. After the scariness passes, Too-Tiny strides across the fields getting used to handling his altered body and then, not being able to sleep in his bed of course, he lies down outside the treasure cave and is soon snoring loudly.

Next day he gathers together one hundred little workmen and orders them to build a castle on Breezy Hill and in three weeks a monstrous edifice is completed. The villagers below are afraid at first when they see a giant roaming about. Too-Tiny is now 'Too-Big,' and after carrying all the sacks of gold into cellars beneath his castle, he begins making a nuisance of himself by scaring everyone. He clumps down the street making every house shake. He quarrels with Mr. Biscuit and ends up treading on his house so that it breaks into piece and not a penny will he pay in compensation, which is not surprising because what citizen, policeman, or whoever, could make a giant pay for anything at all? Six of the villagers are brave enough to approach the castle and demand he pays some money to Mr. Biscuit, but they all return to the village in deaf-mode after Too-Big loses his temper and shouts at them all.

There follows a miserable time for the inhabitants of Tick-Tock village because, as most of the people there are rather poor, they're literally forced to work for Too-Big who, admittedly, pays good wages. He's a bad boss though because he pulls his servant's noses and boxes their ears and after this sort of treatment, there rises a lot of grumbling and an intense discussion takes place.

How can they rid themselves of the tyrant?

Despite their need for money, the residents of Tick-Tock village refuse to work for Too Big any more and eventually a day arrives when the giant is sitting all alone in his castle. Anger stirs him and, striding down to the village, he picks out twenty of the inhabitants as servants, threatening that if they run away he'll throw them to the moon. So, that's where it stands but there's a problem; Too-Big's hopeless at adding up the sums of money he's spends and his work-book pages are filled with crossed-out figures and holes from where the rubber's been used. A potential solution is found however - why not ask Witch Green-Eyes for a magic pencil that'll add up all the figures instantly and accurately?

Off he goes with another sack of gold. Knocking on the witch's roof (because he's now a giant), Too-Big asks the old woman for a magic pencil and she hands him one with a tassel at the end that keeps wagging all the time. Too-Big returns to his castle simply delighted with the purchase. Every sum is now added up by the magic pencil without a single mistake so it appears that life is now full of bliss ... for Too-Big at least.

Yes, life is indeed rapturous until that fateful day when the giant loses his treasured pencil. A massive hunt is begun and the servants are threatened with being thrown to the moon if it isn't found. Eventually, Too-Big calls every villager into the big hall where he brings out a little box and tells them it contains a fly-away spell obtained from Witch Green-Eyes.

There are over five more pages in this tale and they're contain full details of exactly what happens when Too-Big uses the spell to see if he can find out exactly who has his pencil. There are references to an Enchanter and The Mountains of the Moon no less. Bridge building is touched upon and a carriage pulled by a shooting star plays its part as well. Another character also makes an appearance -

Dame Round-Eyes.
In a story entitled 'The Enchanter Clip-Clap,' there's another tower without a door. It can be found in a Blyton book entitled Adventures Of The Wishing Chair.

It took them a week but the Brownies finally found some magic to counter the pillar-box spell.

How many Blyton enthusiasts would immediately think of 'Well Done, Secret Seven' where a boy called Jeff was trying to convey some information to the amateur detectives. He mistakenly referred to a 'pillar-box' as a red pillow.

Enid Blyton doesn't always specify the breed of her characters so we can't be sure what kind of a person the Princess or her old nurse is. Brownie-Town is the setting and I guess there have to be female brownies around although I've always thought of brownies as male.


The substitute hen was stolen from a near-by farm.

There must be some reason for the added 'day' in a Year and a Day. A Baker's Dozen is of similar mould although an extra loaf may have been added to make sure the dozen weighed as it should. Might this point to there being a 'Department of Weights and Measures' back in olden times?

One would have thought the two rogues had acquired at least a castle with their treasures by now instead of continuing to reside in their old cottage.


Now how did Jack-in-the-Box unclasp the lid of his container when he was inside it?


Marjorie Thorp supplied the illustration. The King looks as a King should although, at first glance, his breeches seem to be missing. A closer inspection reveals the absence of toes so he's probably wearing pantaloons. The queen is drawn as fairly young and beautiful with two dotted areas on her chest, which could be interpreted as a kind of decorative pattern.


Once again, Enid Blyton draws on her past descriptions: Mr. Oddmedodd has one brown and one blue eye. Another unsavoury character known only as 'Number Three' was also endowed with odd-coloured peepers in the Missing Necklace mystery.

Very acceptable picture in this tale. E. H. Davie (4.10.05 - 1/10/95) is a favourite illustrator who defined the Blyton characters and story surroundings admirably.


Goldie's bowl may have been fairly high up on the book-case but he was often visited, so the toys were at least able to get up there. Perhaps he was a little slippery to lug back up.

The storyline contains is of a familiar theme and two other examples feature in Tales After Supper (Surprising Goldfish) and the Sixth Bedside Book (Quick! What Shall We Do?).

A canary called 'Goldie' featured in Goldie And The Toys, where a dolls' house also played an important part (Sunny Story Book).


This tale's thread is similar to that of 'The Little Black Doll' - found in A Story Party At Green Hedges.


'Captain' was also a horse in Blyton's The Children of Willow Farm.


Another of Enid Blyton's characters is fond of throwing people up to the moon. His name says it all: - Mr. Rumbustious, and he's none other than Ma Rubbalong's brother. Now if Ma's brother is 'Mr. Rumbustious,' was that her former surname? We don't get to meet Ma Rubbalong's husband but that's not surprising because husbands don't feature all that much in the Enid Blyton books. Anyway, young Rubbalong is 'Rubbalong' no matter what his papa's surname might have been (Rubbalong Tales).